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Does anticipated aid create the need it wants to avoid? An experimental investigation


  • Gelkha Buitrago
  • Werner Güth


  • M. Vittoria Levati



A novel two-person "charity game" is used to experimentally investigate whether anticipation of help crowds out incentives to work, and therefore impulses to help. We distinguish two treatments differing in whether the causes of neediness are verifiable or not. Helping behavior does not vary significantly between treatments, but is positively correlated with dictator giving, suggesting idiosyncratic attitudes to help. Needy subjects are unaffected by anticipated help, but react optimally to chance.

Suggested Citation

  • Gelkha Buitrago & Werner Güth & M. Vittoria Levati, 2006. "Does anticipated aid create the need it wants to avoid? An experimental investigation," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-24, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2006-24

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    More about this item


    Experiments; Helping; Responsibility; Imperfect information;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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